Genocide Classes

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Monday Mosley students got a run through of the death and pain the Holocaust caused the Jewish community and how ethnic cleansing is still happening today in parts of the world.

The message wasn't exactly easy to swallow.

Clint said, "I'm not here to sugar coat history. I'm not here to sugar coat what's happened."

Genocide, or ethnic cleansing, isn't an easy subject for students to delve into without some strong emotions.

Ryan Kearney, a 9th grader, said, "It's amazing that it would just happen like that and we still can't stop it."

The tenth grade English class is reading Elie Wiesel's book "Night," which is a Holocaust survivor's diary. The history class is studying World War II, so students are immersed in the time period during most of their day.

This is what the school calls curriculum mapping. Some students say one day isn't enough and they'd like to see more of this era.

Kayla Held, an 11th grader, said, "It's ended up being one of the best classes I've had so far."

"I think it would be good for a semester class because the students could actually learn about the whole thing and they could learn hope to help and how to stop it if it happens again."

And history is repeating itself, signs of a lesson that wasn't learned.

Clint Whitfield, a teacher, said, "We said never again, but it's happened three times since we said never again, so I'm just trying to let them know history is being made right now and not everything is being done to prevent what's going on now."

A student said, "It's still going on today. It just didn't end then, and it's going on in Darfur, and other countries in South America and Africa."

What's happening today in other countries is at least prompting teachers to work together so things connect in students' minds.

Monday’s special program is a one-time only event, but Florida requires public schools to teach the Holocaust in history classes.